LAHORE: Facing severe public criticism of rising prices for several daily items, including rotis and naans, the federal government decided on Saturday to restore the old gas rate for tandoors in the country, withdrawing the new rate it began to implement from July 1.
The decision was made by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) following protests by owners and workers of Tandoor (Naanbais), who were scheduled to observe a strike across the country on Saturday against rising gas rates . However, they suspended their strike after the government announced the restoration of the previous rate.
The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority is expected to issue a notification to this effect shortly.
However, the government has avoided relaxing the gas rate to commercial consumers who run small restaurants, restaurants and establishments on the road that have tandoor where a large number of workers and middle-class people take their food daily.
“In Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where gas is supplied by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, there are 3,000 commercial consumers who operate tandoors for roti or naan, whose prices have risen to Rs12 from Rs10 and Rs20 from Rs15, respectively, due to more than 70 percentage increase in tariffs and increase in prices of flour and other related products. The number of such tandoors can vary between 2,000 and 2,500 or so in Sindh and Balochistan, where the gas is supplied by Sui Southern Gas Company. Many people, both poor and rich, buy roti and naan from the tandoors, ”said an official source. "Although restoring the previous rate for tandoors is a positive step, the government should also reduce the rate for those commercial consumers who run small restaurants / hotels on the road with tandoors," he added.
According to the SNGPL, according to the decision, the gas rate for commercial tandoor consumers has been reduced from Rs 1,283 per mmbtu to Rs738 per mmbtu.
“After the decision of the federal government, the SNGPL has decided to facilitate tandoor commercial consumers. These consumers should contact the respective SNGPL offices in Punjab and KP to correct the invoices issued under the increased gas rate, ”reads a press release issued by SNGPL.
On the other hand, the Federation of Trade Unions of all Pakistan (APTUF) criticized the decision, saying that the government was making life miserable for the poor. “This is not an Awami government since it has no policies in favor of the poor. The decision is simply to wash your eyes, since the old gas rate is still applicable to roadside restaurants where poor people, who spend most of the day away from home, eat, "said APTUF Secretary General Rubina. Jamil
Posted on Dawn, September 8, 2019